Many women prefer a home work out because it’s easier to work it into an already busy schedule. After all, between responsibilities with your house, job and possibly kids, you probably don't have much time left over at the end of the day. Working your ab muscles, including your obliques, is particularly easy because you don't need much space or equipment. Work them in while you watch television or wait for the laundry to dry.
Working the Obliques
Your obliques are those muscles on the sides of your stomach, above your hips and stretching upward toward your ribs. The traditional crunch doesn't do much for this part of your body, so you'll need to incorporate other ab moves into your routine if you want to tone your obliques. You can probably feel your obliques activating when you twist or bend over to the side, which makes exercises that involve these movements the best choices for working the area.
Oblique exercises are ideal for doing at home because you don't need gym machines or any other fancy equipment. A stability ball and a set of dumbbells are all you need to find room for to get a great oblique workout. Wear snugly fitting clothing that isn't too tight so you have free range of motion without your clothes getting in the way. A pair of running shoes offers traction as you exercise and an exercise mat makes you more comfortable, particularly if you have wooden or tile floors.
Don't eliminate crunches and planks -- combined with oblique moves, these exercises will help create a proportionate and lean look all the way around your middle. Include at least one set of 12 repetitions of each ab move, suggests MayoClinic.com. This is enough to see results in a couple of weeks. Do crunches on a stability ball because the extra balance you need to stay on the ball activates your obliques. Also on the ball, do dumbbell flyes and knee tucks, which also make the sides of your stomach work. Lunges, torso rotations and doing crunches to the sides of your body rather than straight up are other good options.
All the oblique moves in the world aren't going to get rid of that muffin top. If you carry excess flab on the sides of your belly, cardio is vital for burning the fat and uncovering your oblique muscles. Combine your ab exercises with cardio that is easy to do at home. Try jumping rope, running up and down the stairs or marching in place while dinner cooks. Aim for at least 30 minutes of cardio each day, combined with two or three oblique workouts each week for the most benefit.
Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.